the last ring home: the documentary

My friend Minter Dial with my copy of his book which he autographed for me tonight

About a month ago I wrote about my friend’s book, The Last Ring Home.

Since then it has been locally featured in articles in both the Main Line Times and this past weekend in The Philadelphia Inquirer. It also won best foreign film at The Charleston Film Festival over the weekend. It airs this Friday, November 11 on PBS – at 7:30 PM on WHYY.

Tonight Minter Dial joined family, friends, and many others as we saw an advance screening of the companion documentary to his book at The Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Some of us also had the good fortune to spend some additional time with Minter beforehand at Xolo Tacos in Bryn Mawr. The opening photo was after he signed my copy of his beautiful book which I read cover to cover in one sitting.

It is a sad, beautiful, bittersweet tale of his own journey to learn about a grandfather he never knew and his grandfather’s tale.

His grandfather survived over 2 years in a Japanese internment camp in World War II but never made it home.

There are other stories within the stories including of his grandfather’s US Naval Academy ring (Class of 1932). I am not saying any more because I want people to buy the book AND watch the documentary on Friday.

We have had such a brutal campaign season and tonight was a welcome respite  and a tangible reminder of what it is to be an American, and a reminder of what our members of the armed forces have fought and died for since the Revolutionary War. 

At the Q and A after the film, Minter read an excerpt of a speech given by his great grandfather who was a United States Senator from South Carolina 1919 to 1925. Senator Nathaniel Barksdsle Dial’s last speech while a U.S. Senator was eerily timely today, in 2016. He spoke of how he was sick of the then political divisiveness he saw in his day.  It was astounding.

Seeing this film tonight was the perfect reminder of who we should all want to be as Americans.  In that vein, I am going to mention there is a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to get The Last Ring Home on PBS from coast to coast. If you are so inclined, there are a little over 10 days to raise the rest of the funds.

I know I have readers down in Washington DC and you have an opportunity to see The Last Ring Home tomorrow November 9th at noon at the U.S. Navy Memorial. 

Ok off to see if we have a president yet.

Thanks for stopping by!

At The Bryn Mawr Film Institute this evening

loch aerie photos courtesy of the library of congress

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Who knew? Loch Aerie has her own page on a Library of Congress website.  It’s really cool – please CLICK HERE AND GO VISIT.

The photos except the black and white at the bottom which I took are all old ones taken for that August 1958 study. Only I never saw the photos until someone suggested I check the Library of Congress listing for the mansion. These photos are available to the public courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Even the folks at The Library of Congress thinks this Chester County symbol and gem are special.  See??? #thisplacematters 

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And finishing with one of my favorite photos that I have personally taken of Loch Aerie:

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six minutes of television worth watching before the election

Last night I did not watch the Republican National Convention, or listen to Ann Romney’s speech. (See and interview with her here.) To get personal, I am sorry she had breast cancer, but you know what? I am a survivor too.  She also spoke about having multiple sclerosis, and again, I am sorry, but I know a very brave woman who struggles with this every day who I think is amazing.  And she doesn’t tell people about her disease, nor do I tell people what I had so other women will identify with me.  It is simply now part of who I am, and to an extent how I view the world.

What did I watch? The season finale of HBO’s The Newsroom which I had missed on Sunday night.

But what I do not get about my own political party, the Republican party, is they put the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney, out there to speak to the women of this country, yet behind the scenes there is embracing of political zealots who I feel have very little respect for women, their bodies, their opinions, their wants, their needs.

Look at Rep. Todd Akin and his “legitimate rape” comments. According to him,and his vast medical knowledge,women’s bodies shut down upon violation making pregnanacy, etc impossible. And look in our own political trashcan in Pennsylvania to Tom Smith, who is running for senate.  He drew a parallel in an interview with the AP between babies born out-of-wedlock and rape. HUH????

Neither of these men should be running for those reasons alone, yet they are.  And they aren’t alone.  How am I as a Republican woman supposed to vote a Republican ticket when just underneath the surface exists a current that is terrifying to me?   Don’t misunderstand me, I am not feeling it for Obama for a second term, but I am having a personal political crisis wondering how the hell I am going to vote?

I have said before that I feel the politics of extremism is ruining this country. It is the undeniable truth.  Which is why when I heard what a fictional newsman (who sadly does better reporting the news that major networks in this country do in reality) talk about Republicans and the Tea Party as a fictional Republican, it was very interesting.

Writers do not just draw from imagination, they draw from real life,  out there are a lot of  people who are torn and apathetic at the same time just like me.  I don’t think this all came out of Aaron Sorkin’s vivid imagination alone.  (Read an interesting article on the series in the Atlantic HERE)

I volunteered for the RNC2000 when it was in Philadelphia.  I have to tell you, I believed a lot more than I do now.  But at that convention, the Republican Party on a national level had some balls and the political  zealots and extremists stayed firmly where they belong on the fringe.

I almost wonder what kind of target I will become now as a blogger for saying I am a Republican but political extremism isn’t the way to go?

Anyway, watch the clip I posted.  I don’t care who did it, or what their political persuasion may or may not be, as Americans it is a perspective we should at least hear out.

Here is what Buffalonews.com had to say:

Brilliant ‘Newsroom’ finale has impeccable timing By Jeff Simon

Enough of all the supremely supercilious Sorkin-bashing. No more. Sunday’s season finale of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” managed to be the most timely – and one of the best – season finales of a television show I’ve ever seen (and, in my case, that “ever” covers a lot of chronological distance).

On this very evening, the Republicans are gathered in Tampa to see how much commandeering of the American journalistic agenda a storm called Isaac will allow. Two days earlier, “The Newsroom’s” finale led off with fictional journalistic crusader Will McEvoy leading off his news broadcast with a very real issue hotly debated (“defended” is the most apt word) just a few weeks ago: efforts to deny voting rights to those who have no photographic identification…..Put it together with “The Newsroom’s” usual blowtorching of the Tea Party on the (also) plausible grounds that it represents extremism, not Republicanism, and you’ve got the most extraordinary timeliness ever recorded for a TV show in a presidential election year. And all this, mind you, from an HBO fantasy that, thus far, has had to restrict itself to actual events from 2010, when some of the writing was being done….

In the terrific season finale of “The Newsroom” – complete with historically appropriate sideswipes at “Sex and the City” – Sorkin revealed what his theme music all along should have been: bad, scratchy old recordings of Broadway cast albums from “Camelot” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Now THAT would have been the proper introductory tone – smartass, ironic, dweeby, willing to get bruised while pushing boundaries rather than defending a bunch of Holy Prophets who were never anything of a sort.

 

Like it or not, Aaron Sorkin and HBO via fictional characters have given a voice to people questioning the tides of American politics.  Even registered Republicans.

We, as Americans, have been suffering through an economy not seen since the Great Depression if we are all honest with ourselves.  We don’t (thankfully) have a World War looming on the horizon to snap us out of it, but you know what?  We all need something to believe in.

We need as Americans, to have not only something and someones we can believe in, but practical solutions and not pie in the sky ideals.

We do not need to set women back a century or better, and we need to stop a lot of rhetoric which if continued will merely induce more hatred between races.  We need people who actually want to get together from both parties and govern for the good of the people and this country.

Right now it is bull twaddle as usual in Washington, DC.  And in the actual district you see people running around hedging their bets in case the seat of power changes, which in effect means nothing is getting done and we are still paying for it as taxpayers.

You know, I had a ticket for Paul Ryan’s visit to West Chester but I did not go.  I did not go because I did not feel like dealing with the extremeists from either side who were there, including that old fool Frank Lautenberg.  I enjoy politics, I enjoy hearing what candidates have to say, and sometimes even their wives, which is how I got to meet Michele Obama last election in a small setting. I like to hear what candidates have to say, but I can’t hear any of them this election season because they are getting drowned out by the politics of extremism on both sides.

I am getting off the soap box now.